February is the month of Love. In the case of readergirlz, it's about heart and poetry. Readergirlz is celebrating this month with the novel, Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes. Read an excerpt of her book here. To join in the interesting discussions, go over here. It's because of some of these eye-opening conversations that I was compelled to write this post. And it's all about love in a way. The kind that no one really wants to see or talk about.
Edited to add: I decided to change the picture in this post, because I found this cool photo.
Ahhh. Sweet Love. For some reason, the first crush or first love, seems to be something people remember even when they're considered to be too ancient to understand such matters. And the very idea of love sparks imagination, hope, laughter and a jump up to the stars elation that lights up a smile with no end. If only that feeling stayed constant. It would make life easy and joyful. Don't you think?
But love is definitely not something for the weak of heart. Love can be consuming, demanding and unkind. If put in the right hands and handled with respect, all the tough aspects of love can be worked on and nurtured into a deep love that will last a lifetime. But if these negative qualities are left in the wrong hands, left to fester and rot, it is going to be a toxic situation that will leave souls imprisoned behind walls of hopelessness and despair. And this is one situation that doesn't discriminate. These dangerous situations can develop regardless of gender, race, religion, morality or socioeconomic status.
Most people want to find love and will wade through all the crap to keep it. The key is to find out what is worth fighting for and what is best left behind for someone else to pick at. As quickly as possible. Adults have a difficult and confusing enough time of this...is it any wonder that teenagers, who are in such a rush to grow up and experience life, may deny what is hazardous in a relationship?
I'm a little late to the program here, but this is too important and needs to be shared. Today is the fourth day of the National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week. Take a look at these sad facts compiled by the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline founded by Liz Claiborne, Inc. 1 in 5 teens have experienced physical abuse. 1 in 4 teens have reported constant verbal abuse.
With these kind of numbers, it is important to keep the open lines of communication with your teen or friend. How do you know if your teen or friend is experiencing dating abuse, the kind where someone uses a series of destructive means to control their boyfriend or girlfriend? Have them take this quiz. And if you want to find ways to help them, start here. Or call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or 1-866-331-8453 TTY. Help teens realize they deserve better.
And if you're an adult caught up in a dangerous relationship, break your silence and get help. You are so worth it.
Love is not abuse. Love is not about control. Love is not about destroying someone's self-worth or self-esteem.
Love is all about respect and empowerment. Love is about honor. Remember that. Because you deserve to be honored and respected. You are so worth it.